Scientists are surprised by a 'talking' Asian elephant
A Korean elephant has aroused the curiosity of the Asian scientific community. Koshik is in a zoo and is capable of reproducing sounds very similar to words in the local language. The animal can “speak” “annyeong” (hello), “nuwo” (lie down); “Angel” (to sit); “Aniya” (no) and “choah” (good).
The elephant's skill caught the attention of a team of researchers, who realized that Koshik's speech is made by imitating what is spoken by humans - and, in a demonstration of incredible skill, the animal uses the tip of its trunk placed above it. the mouth to reproduce the sounds, which end up being very convincing.
After hearing about the animal's vocal talent, Dr. Angela Stoeger from the University of Vienna, Austria, went to Korea to create elephant videos, which were then posted on YouTube.
The research team then asked Koreans (who had the native language) to hear the animal's speech, not knowing what it was about. According to Stoeger, a "high agreement on the global meaning" of the words was found.
(Image source: Playback / BBC)
According to a BBC report, the main difference between elephant sounds and human speech is that humans have different voice tones, while elephants have a deeper sound that Koshik can dribble very well.
Dr. Angela Stoeger also adds that the event is the result of the animal living exclusively with humans: Koshik was the only elephant in his zoo between the ages of five and twelve.
Because his social relationships were based on what he saw and heard from people, this made him strive to strengthen ties with his peers by repeating his lines. The feat is quite remarkable given the anatomy of the elephant which, unlike humans, has no lips and has a huge larynx.
For Dr. Stoeger, research is of utmost importance not only to better understand the functioning of human languages but to accompany an evolutionary process of vocalization or vocal imitation. The researcher makes it clear that Koshik only simulates human sounds without being fully aware of what it represents.